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Here are some things that caught my attention this week:
FAB 1. Why all the love for Desean Jackson? The diminutive Cal receiver appears to be the flavor of the month for the Buccaneers with the 20th overall pick in the first round in several on-line mock drafts.
Do you realize he’s just under 5-foot-10, 167 pounds? That’s Jacquez Green size. You remember Quezie, don’t you? He scored seven touchdowns on offense in four years for the Buccaneers and never had more than 800 yards in any season. In fact, he went over 500 yards just twice in the NFL and averaged only 14.3 yards per catch despite having 4.3 speed.
Do you know that Michael Clayton, who probably runs in the 4.5 – 4.6 range, has a 13.3 yards per catch average over his career?
I’ve watched a lot of Cal games and I’ve seen Jackson at his best. Making some difficult catches, blowing by cornerbacks down the sidelines for touchdowns. Desmond Howard used to do that.
And that’s what I think Jackson is. I believe he is a Jacquez Green/Desmond Howard-type player. After averaging 18.2 yards per punt return and scoring four touchdowns in 2006, Jackson opened the season with a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown against Tennessee. But after that return, he only had 52 return yards on 11 punts the rest of the season and wound up with a 10-yard average during his junior season.
I can see Jackson having success as a punt returner in the NFL, but I really question whether he will make an impact at wide receiver at the next level. He was the 53rd receiver in the nation in receptions per game in 2007 with 65 catches for 762 yards (11.7 avg.) and six touchdowns during a junior season that did not live up to expectations.
The comparisons to Carolina’s Steve Smith? I don’t buy them. Smith is a tough-as-nails son-of-a-gun, who is also 5-foot-9, but weighs about 15 pounds more than Jackson does.
How can a receiver who is entering the NFL Draft weigh 167 pounds? Was Jackson allergic to the weight room at Cal?
Smith is a physical receiver who is not afraid to go across the middle and make the big catch – and usually comes down with the ball. If you go back and look at the tape of Jackson at Cal, most of his touchdowns and big plays are on “Go” routes, much like that of Green, Howard and last year’s first-round pick, Ted Ginn, Jr.
How many “Go” routes does Jon Gruden’s offense run? The bread and butter play of the West Coast offense is the slant route. Does Jackson have the toughness to run that kind of route on a regular basis? I didn’t see it on film at Cal.
I also didn't see Jackson break many tackles or have to be physical at the line of scrimmage to break press coverage, either. Most teams were scared of his deep speed and played about 8-10 yards off in coverage. In fact, the team that played him the tighest in coverage at the line of scrimmage was USC. In three years versus the Trojans, Jackson had eight catches for only 114 yards and no touchdowns – an average of just under three catches for 40 yards per contest.
Granted, this video is one play, but it is an example of how the smallish Jackson fares when he attempts to go across the middle. Not only did he drop the ball, he knocked out of the game for a play or two. And the USC Trojan who nailed him, Keith Ellison, doesn’t hit like NFL safeties Bob Sanders, Roy Williams or Troy Polamalu do.
Joey Galloway is not known as an overly physical receiver, but is not afraid to go over the middle on slants and crossing routes because he has mastered the art of the catch-and-duck technique. No, Galloway doesn’t take the punishment that bigger receivers like Keyshawn Johnson, Joe Jurevicius and Michael Clayton have absorbed by venturing into the land of safeties and linebackers, but Galloway makes the catch, gets down and lives to catch another day.
Jackson either wouldn’t do it, or wasn’t called upon to do it at Cal. In fact, Lavelle Hawkins, Jackson’s teammate at Cal, was the player who was assigned to go across the middle and word is the Bucs actually prefer him instead of Jackson. After a very good showing at the Senior Bowl, Hawkins is projected to go in the late second or early third round.
Does Jackson have the speed and playmaking ability? Yes, he does. I’m just not sure if it will translate into success at the next level due to his size – or lack thereof.
The real concern at One Buccaneer Place, aside from Jackson’s size (Gruden likes bigger wide receivers and the smallish Jackson has a tendency to get dinged up) and perceived toughness on film, is the fact that he has a selfish attitude. Pewter Report talked to NFL scouts at the Senior Bowl about Jackson and the word in the scouting community is that he came across as a selfish prima donna with a bad attitude. He’s earned the nickname “MeSean” for a reason and it’s no surprise that he wears a jersey with the number 1 on it.
I’m not saying Jackson won’t be a Buccaneer. Gruden might get drunk on his playmaking ability and decide to take him with the 20th overall pick. But in several conversations I’ve had with Tampa Bay’s head coach, he doesn’t want egotistical, me-first wide receivers. He’s already had one with Keyshawn Johnson and we all know how that turned out.
Besides, a main reason why general manager Bruce Allen drafted wide receiver Michael Clayton in the first round in 2004 was because of Clayton’s selfless, team-first attitude. Allen looks for players who will be great teammates, and in the draft research I have done, I haven’t been convinced that Jackson, who calls himself "Tha Chosen 1", would be a great teammate.
Here’s what a reporter for the San Jose Mercury, who covers Cal, had to say about Jackson – DeSean Jackson turns pro: Bad news for Cal, or good riddance?
Don’t get caught up in highlight reels, Bucs fans. Remember Larry Brackins’ highlight reels? They were amazing. But they don’t show the fact that for every amazing, acrobatic catch he made, Brackins would drop two catchable balls.
I’m not sold on Jackson and from what I’m hearing out of One Buc Place, neither are the Buccaneers.
One thing to keep an eye on though is the fact that former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Jerry Rice is mentoring Jackson and coaching him this offseason. Allen and Gruden have a connection to Rice and may be persuaded if he vouches for the kid.
Despite all of the young talent on the Bucs roster and the additions in free agency, Tampa Bay still has a glaring weakness at punt returner and may decide to address that in the first round with Troy cornerback Leodis McKelvin, who returned seven punts for scores – or Jackson.
FAB 2. Cal’s DeSean Jackson isn’t the only top wide receiver in the 2008 NFL Draft with holes in his game. According to NFL scouts that Pewter Report has spoken to, there aren’t any receivers that are in the class of Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson, who was the second overall pick in 2007, this year.
Instead, there are players like the 5-foot-9 7/8, 167-pound Jackson, Oklahoma’s Malcolm Kelly and Texas’ Limas Sweed, who had great junior seasons, but lackluster senior campaigns, and players like LSU’s Early Doucet and Florida’s Andre Caldwell, who lack proven production.
I wouldn’t touch Doucet with a 10-foot pole. How could a team like the Buccaneers consider drafting a wide receiver that has produced two – only two – 100-yard games with its first-round pick? This guy played second fiddle to Dwayne Bowe and Craig Davis up until last year and wound up with only 57 catches for 525 yards and five scores as a senior. How this guy is considered a first-round option is beyond me.
With Bucs head coach and offensive playcaller Jon Gruden wanting a speedy, playmaker at wide receiver, does a guy like Doucet, who averaged 9.2 yards per catch last year, sound like he fits the bill? Nope.
Caldwell has some juice, running a 40-yard dash in the 4.3 range, but he reminds me of Troy Williamson, the former first-round bust whom Minnesota just traded to Jacksonville. Williamson was a speed receiver, but nothing more. I think Caldwell is better than Williamson, but I just don’t trust Florida Gators wide receivers.
With Caldwell’s speed, you would expect more production than the five 100-yard games he posted over four years at Florida.
Sweed impressed as a junior with 46 catches for 801 yards (17.4 avg.) and 12 touchdowns, but a wrist injury derailed his senior campaign in which he caught 19 passes for 306 yards (16.1 avg.) and three scores. However, Sweed had to leave the Senior Bowl after just two practices because he re-aggravated his wrist injury.
That concerns some teams, and possibly the Bucs, too. It would certainly concern me and I certainly wouldn’t take a chance on Sweed in the first round with his bum wrist. Besides, he hasn’t consistently produced at Texas and might be a one-year wonder.
At 6-foot-4, 219 pounds, Kelly has the size to fit in Gruden’s version of the West Coast offense. After watching film on all five potential wide receivers, Kelly has the best hands and I believe he would be the most ideal fit in Tampa Bay. He reminded me of a healthy Javon Walker.
Kelly, a junior entry, caught 49 passes for 821 yards (16.8 avg.) and nine touchdowns in 2007 after posting 62 receptions for 993 yards (16 avg.) and 10 scores as a sophomore in 2006. But after a strong start to the ’07 season, Kelly faded down the stretch with just one touchdown over the final seven games. Kelly did not record a 100-yard game during that span, either.
There have also been some real concerns about Kelly this post-season. He did not perform drills at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, nor did he work out at Oklahoma's pro day. Instead, he's making scouts wait until April 9 to conduct a private workout.
That has NFL scouts ticked off and raising red flags. Is he nursing an injury? Has he been lazy this offseason and is out of shape? Is he trying to buy more time to get a disappointing 40-yard dash time up? No one knows right now.
League sources tell Pewter Report that the Bucs might like Indiana wide receiver James Hardy, who was a consistent producer in his three years with the Hooisers, or Houston’s Donnie Avery, who is one of the fastest players in the 2008 NFL Draft, even better than the supposed top five wideouts. Hardy and Avery are considered second-round prospects, but Hardy really surprised NFL scouts by running a sub 4.5 time in the 40-yard dash and could creep up into the latter part of the first round.
Hardy produced 10 touchdowns in each of his freshman and sophomore seasons before posting 16 TDs in his junior campaign. The 5-foot-11, 192-pound Avery, who had 91 catches for 1,491 yards and seven scores as a senior, reminds Tampa Bay of Joey Galloway.
Unless Tampa Bay has a fix on either Hardy or Avery and doesn’t believe either player will be available in the second round when it has the 52nd overall pick, I don’t see the Bucs going with a wide receiver in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Instead, I think the Buccaneers will draft a cornerback. Pewter Report’s Jim Flynn lays out a great argument for why that could happen in a recent Flynn’s Focus.
With Tampa Bay having stockpiled talent at the quarterback, linebacker, running back tight end and defensive end positions this offseason – and not having a pressing need to draft an offensive lineman after addressing the line in free agency last year (tackle Luke Petitgout) and the draft over the last two years (guards Arron Sears and Davin Joseph and tackle Jeremy Trueblood) – it looks like it is down to receiver or cornerback in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft.
And with the lack of first-round talent at wide receiver, I would pull the trigger on USF’s Mike Jenkins, Tennessee State’s Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Troy’s Leodis McKelvin, Arizona’s Antoine Cason or Kansas’ Aqib Talib in round one instead and address wide receiver in round two.
FAB 3. After talking with our sources, I got the low down on why the Buccaneers re-signed Warrick Dunn. Some of the reasons are obvious, but some might not be. Let me explain.
First, you have to understand the mentality of the Buccaneers front office, which is coming off a season in which all three quarterbacks saw significant playing time due to injury. The Bucs started their third-string running back for most of the season due to injury, played eight different wide receivers due to injury and the team’s left tackle wound up being a former practice squad player who was an undrafted free agent in 2006 due to injury. Last year, the Bucs had better contingency plans than they did during a dismal 4-12 season that was riddled with key injuries.
Injuries hit the Bucs hard again last year, but the front office was much better prepared, and have continued that trend this year by trading for veteran quarterback Brian Griese and re-signing Dunn. From talking to my sources, I get the feeling the Bucs feel like they are in position to become a perennial playoff contender and a legitimate threat to win the NFC South title every year. That means they can’t afford to cut corners with the players who will be second and third on the depth chart.
As much as I would like to see Tampa Bay draft a halfback in this talented class of runners, I can see why they signed Dunn.
Cadillac Williams is a long shot to see action in 2008 or 2009 for that matter due to a torn patellar tendon, which is a major knee injury. The Bucs are wisely preparing for him to not be a factor this year. I’ll place a bet that says he starts the season on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list, and there’s a fair chance he winds up on injured reserve again.
Earnest Graham made a strong case for being the Bucs’ feature back in 2008, earning Gruden’s trust by scoring 10 touchdowns and shining as a versatile, tough runner, blocker and receiver. Plus, Graham wants a new contract and has hired Drew Rosenhaus as his agent. Rosenhaus has a reputation of having his clients hold out sometimes and the acquisition of a proven runner like Dunn gives Tampa Bay more leverage should that happen.
Michael Bennett is an exciting playmaker with blazing speed, but has shortcomings in pass protection. That happens to be one of Dunn’s strengths despite his size. At this stage of the offseason, Gruden and the Bucs view Bennett as a situational back, and if something were to happen to Graham – a holdout or an injury – Tampa Bay wouldn’t feel comfortable with Bennett being the feature back. They do have the belief that Dunn could fill that role, though.
Even though he is 33 years old, the Bucs believed that Dunn had more gas left in the tank than Michael Pittman did. The 32-year old Pittman, who is an unrestricted free agent, was not offered a contract by the Bucs after six years of service.
I’ll admit that during the days of WD-40 back in the Mike Shula offense from 1997-99, I thought Dunn should be more of a complimentary runner to fullback Mike Alstott instead of having them split the carries. To Dunn’s credit, he was certainly productive, but I just thought Shula’s between-the-tackles, run-oriented offense was more conducive to a power runner like Alstott.
I’ve never been a huge Dunn fan as I felt he did too much dancing behind the line of scrimmage at times and took too many negative runs, while Alstott would power through the line for positive yardage. However, I thought Dunn was exceptional at pass protection, which is just as important a trait to Gruden as carrying the ball, and would have been a much better weapon in a West Coast offense like Tampa Bay deployed in 2002, the year he became an Atlanta Falcon.
That leads me to my last point about the Dunn signing. Gruden has bemoaned the fact he lost Dunn to a division rival in his first season in Tampa Bay. The story goes that in his first week on the job in late February 2002, Gruden was studying the film of the Buccaneers players he inherited and really only saw weapons that would fit his offense in two of them – Dunn and wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson.
Former general manager Rich McKay told Gruden of the Bucs’ salary cap-strapped condition as the team was about to enter free agency and revealed that the Bucs only had enough cap room to keep either Dunn or defensive end Simeon Rice. He asked Gruden his preference, which was Dunn, and then turned around and kept Rice instead.
So is it any wonder that Gruden and McKay’s relationship started to sour almost immediately? Every time the Bucs played the Falcons, Gruden would steam over losing Dunn to a division rival. Every time Rice spouted off and his conduct was detrimental to the team, Gruden would probably think, “We kept this guy instead of Warrick Dunn?”
Do I think signing Dunn is a form of payback at McKay, who will now have to face the player he drafted out of Florida State in the first round of the 1997 draft once again in red and pewter? Yeah, to a degree I do. Gruden holds grudges and I could easily see him wanting to showcase Dunn against Atlanta with 20 carries and five to seven catches twice during the 2008 season.
I can understand the Bucs’ reasonings for signing Dunn. They make sense. But aside from my desire to see Tampa Bay grab a young runner in this talented crop of running backs in the 2008 NFL Draft, each carry or catch that Dunn gets robs Bennett of an opportunity to make a play.
Bennett rushed for 4.6 yards per carry in 2007, which was tops among Tampa Bay running backs, and scored two touchdowns in limited duty. At age 29, Bennett shows no sign of slowing down, and I’m interested in seeing how creative Gruden can be with the 5-foot-9, 207-pound speedster, who signed a three-year contract extension on February 15 after being acquired via a trade with Kansas City last November. Had Bennett known the Bucs would acquire Dunn, I don’t know if he would have re-signed with Tampa Bay.
I hope that Dunn is not anointed the starter over Graham if no hold out occurs. This battle should be taken into training camp and Graham’s production from a year ago should not be swept under the rug just because Dunn is Gruden’s flavor of the month. While I believe Dunn’s numbers dipped last year in Atlanta because of terrible quarterback play and the fact that he was running behind a shoddy offensive line, the fact that he was 32 may have had something to do with his 3.2 yard average in 2007, too.
Graham deserves to head into camp as the starter, but regardless of who winds up toting the rock, Tampa Bay’s running back situation is in pretty good shape heading into 2008, despite Williams’ catastrophic knee injury.
FAB 4. The Buccaneers signing of wide receiver Antonio Bryant comes as no surprise. Tampa Bay brought Bryant in for a workout last year prior to training camp and had him on the team’s emergency list last season.
But when injuries struck the Bucs’ receiving corps, the team decided to go the more familiar route by bringing up practice squad players Michael Spurlock, Brian Clark and Chad Lucas at season’s end because they were much more familiar with the offensive system.
Besides, Tampa Bay would have taken a public relations hit with the signing of Bryant on the heels of wide receiver David Boston’s arrest on suspicion of DUI prior to the start of the regular season, and tight end Jerramy Stevens’ in-season DUI trial for his arrest in March before signing with the Bucs.
Boston was released after the first week of the season due to a foot injury, but we all know that his DUI also played a major role. Stevens signed a one-year deal last year, and although he was productive by catching four touchdown passes in 2007, including the game-winner at New Orleans, he isn’t expected to be a Buccaneer in 2008.
Stevens is currently an unrestricted free agent and the Bucs appear to have moved on with the offseason signings of tight ends John Gilmore and Ben Troupe. Team officials tell Pewter Report that they knew all the details that later surfaced in a Seattle Times investigative piece on Stevens’ allegedly sordid past at the University of Washington and with the Seattle Seahawks, but for most Bucs fans who had just found out these revelations a month ago they made it clear on message boards and sports talk radio that they didn’t want Stevens back. The Bucs apparently listened.
So with Boston and Stevens out of the picture, it’s time for Father Bruce Allen and Saint Jon Gruden to take in another wayward soul. This time it’s Bryant, a talented receiver with a nice mix of speed (18.3 avg. in 2006), size (6-foot-2, 188), toughness (he picked a fight with former Cowboys coach Bill Parcells in practice) and off-field problems (note the fight with Parcells, a reckless driving arrest and a four-game NFL suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy).
Some don’t want players like Boston, Stevens or Bryant on the Bucs roster. They view them as bad character mercenaries hired by Gruden and Allen, who will do anything to win at all costs. I’ve had enough conversations with both of Tampa Bay’s head honchos to say that I am convinced they have a genuine interest in helping talented players get another chance to turn their life around, stay clean and become productive in the NFL again.
Because Gruden and Allen are misunderstood by some fans and some in the media, they don’t understand their true motives. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. If Tony Dungy were still coaching the Buccaneers and brought in the likes of Stevens, Boston and Bryant, and Darrell Russell, we would be reading poetic columns in the newspapers, praising Dungy for being a humanitarian and being a good Christian by giving these players a second chance.
Yet due to Gruden’s occasionally abrasive personality, secretive ways and his menacing scowl, he’s picked on for giving troubled players a second chance. For the record, of the “troubled” players he’s brought to the Bucs, only Stevens had a productive year and he wasn’t even re-signed this offseason.
Russell’s stint in Tampa Bay lasted a few months and he didn’t even make it to training camp after he tested positive for alcohol consumption, which was forbidden in his contract with the Buccaneers. As previously mentioned, Boston was quickly axed after his DUI arrest.
Will Bryant be the next failed reclamation project? Who knows, but I don’t fault the Bucs for trying with this kid. He’s 27 years old, and after being out of football for all of 2007, he’s hungry enough to sign a one-year “prove it” contract for $605,000 to show Tampa Bay and the rest of the NFL that he can still play in this game.
But don’t think that the Bucs still won’t look to address the receiver position in the draft despite the addition of Bryant. He’s not a lock to make the team and still has to prove himself to the team’s front office, coaches and players.
If you found it curious that the announcement of the signings of Bryant and good guy running back Warrick Dunn were on the same day, it was done on purpose. Who said Allen and Gruden don’t know how to work the p.r. game?
FAB 5. Here are a few things to hold you over until the next SR’s Fab 5 column.
• If it isn’t obvious that seven-year linebacker Ryan Nece is a marked man, I don’t know how much clearer the Bucs could make it. Tampa Bay drafted two linebackers in Quincy Black and Adam Hayward to compete with Nece and signed former Pro Bowl middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter to back up Barrett Ruud after it became clear in the preseason that Nece struggled in the middle. To his credit, Nece stuck on the roster due to his versatility and special teams ability. But in 2008, the Bucs signed younger, faster linebackers in Teddy Lehman, Matt McCoy and Leon Joe to compete with Nece, who lacks the speed and athleticism Tampa Bay would like at the linebacker position. Oh, and Black and Hayward are still around. Good luck, Ryan.
• Do you realize if former Buccaneers running back Michael Pittman winds up signing with Detroit that the Lions will have just as many Super Bowl XXXVII champions as Tampa Bay does? The current count has Tampa Bay in the lead (after all, the Bucs did win the Super Bowl) with linebacker Derrick Brooks, cornerback Ronde Barber, safety Jermaine Phillips and linebacker Ryan Nece, while Detroit currently has safety Dwight Smith, cornerback Brian Kelly and defensive tackle Chartric Darby under contract, along with two more ex-Bucs defensive end Dewayne White and safety Kalvin Pearson, but neither was on Tampa Bay’s roster in 2002. If Pittman signs and Nece doesn’t make the Bucs’ final roster cut in 2008, the Lions will have more former Tampa Bay Super Bowl champs. Isn’t that strange?
• There was a curious editorial in the St. Petersburg Times blog a couple of weeks ago regarding quarterback Chris Simms. It said the Bucs were “doing Simms a disservice,” that the Bucs “need to do the right thing and release Simms,” and that it’s the “only human thing to do” to allow him get his career back on track. Huh? After investing a third-round draft pick in Simms, millions of dollars and four years of coaching the Bucs should just cut him? Does that make any sense to you? Granted, Simms is coming off a splenectomy and his last four starts were ugly, but he did lead the Bucs to an NFC South title and post a 5-1 record in the division in 2005. He does have some good NFL tape that may prompt a team to part ways with a late-round draft pick or a player in exchange for a strong-armed, 27-year old quarterback who has played in 20 NFL games and has a great pedigree. Like all NFL players, Simms is a commodity. He’s property. If you think that’s a cruel way to look at people who make at least six figures to play a kid’s game, just watch on draft day when some kid who played college football in Florida is drafted by the Packers and is told that he has to endure the hardships of living and working in wintery Green Bay, Wisconsin. The NFL is a business and it would be a bad business to decision to part ways with Simms right now. What if an injury strikes Jeff Garcia or Brian Griese? Remember, Luke McCown tore his ACL in June of 2005 during an OTA practice. What if Simms outperforms McCown and Bruce Gradkowski in training camp? Or what if Simms lights it up in limited action in the preseason, going 8-of-10 for 120 yards and two touchdowns? What if that was just enough to show a QB-needy team that he is fully recovered from his spleen injury and that he was worth a mid-round pick? I agree with the Times that Simms needs to revive his NFL career elsewhere, but to let him go for humanitarian reasons because he’s a nice guy would make for a foolish business decision.
• The Buccaneers had minimal interest in free agent wide receiver D.J. Hackett, and when I say minimal, I mean minimal. The reason why Hackett visited the Bucs is only because he was on an East Coast trip with visits in Washington and Carolina. One of the untold secrets of the NFL is the favors that some teams, including the Buccaneers, do for agents in setting up visits and workouts for their clients. Players who are on the free agent market too long tend to get antsy and even hostile towards their agents, blaming them for a lack of activity. Sometimes agents will call on favors from teams, asking them to bring in their client and act interested to soothe the player’s ego. The reward for the team is often some leverage with the agent when doing deals for other players. It’s a quid-pro-quo-type situation where the team will tell the agent, “I did you a favor by bringing in your other client, work with me on this deal and come down on your terms.” From what Pewter Report has learned, the visit by Hackett kind of falls into this arena. If Tampa Bay had truly been interested in the wide receiver, it would have scheduled a visit with him during the first week of free agency, not the end of the second week.
• The Bucs also don't have much interest in Arizona free agent wide receiver Bryant Johnson. I don't think his game is special at all, and apparently neither does Tampa Bay. I didn't like Johnson at Penn State and he hasn't impressed me in Arizona, either. One player the Bucs are taking a look at that I did like from a Pennsylvania college is former Pitt tight end Kris Wilson. Wilson was drafted by Kansas City in 2004 to play fullback, and he would make a nice backup to B.J. Askew in Tampa Bay.
• I hate to say, “I told you so” when I was stressing patience during the Buccaneers cautious approach in free agency during the first week, but I was right. For all of the Bucs fans that were fretting, sweating and panicking over the fact that Tampa Bay only signed center Jeff Faine, reserve defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson and backup tight end John Gilmore on the first weekend of free agency, you should have been patient. Since that initial weekend the Bucs have made the following moves: traded for QB Brian Griese, signed linebackers Leon Joe, Teddy Lehman and Matt McCoy, signed tight end Ben Troupe, re-signed cornerback Sammy Davis, signed wide receiver Antonio Bryant, signed running back Warrick Dunn, signed defensive end Marques Douglas and added cornerback Eugene Wilson. Not a bad haul in free agency, and they got these players a lot cheaper by being patient and not paying “first 72-hour prices.” With the exception of Faine, the Bucs likely got all of these players for less than the cost of the guaranteed money in gimpy receiver Javon Walker’s contract. Kudos to Bucs general manager Bruce Allen and senior assistant Kevin Demoff for another year’s worth of smart, conservative spending in free agency. We'll see if their perceived success translates into actual success on the field as it did in 2007.
• The career of former Buccaneers defensive tackle Warren Sapp ended with a whimper didn’t it? It’s a shame that Sapp kind of fell off the face of the Earth when he went out to Oakland, which finished 5-11, 4-12, 2-14 and 4-12 during his tenure with the silver and black. It’s also a shame that he made his retirement official on the same day that Green Bay legend Brett Favre held his retirement press conference. The 35-year old QB Killa’s final season consisted of only two QB kills, after notching 10 the previous year, which served as a last hurrah. Sapp deserved better and will still be remembered as one of the greatest Bucs of all-time. It’s a shame he’s retiring as a Raider rather than a Buccaneer.
• And last, but not least, I want to welcome the hundreds of new subscribers that took advantage of our $20 subscription offer during the start of free agency and thank you for becoming Pewter Report-Pewter Insider subscribers. What I ask of you, and our faithful long-time subscribers, is to continue to show your support for PewterReport.com by clicking the banner ads of PewterReport.com’s advertisers, which are businesses that support us and want to reach you, the die-hard Buccaneers fan, with their products and services. Despite rising postage and printing costs, we have managed to keep our regular subscription price at $39.99 for the past two years, which was actually lowered from $49.99 when president Hugh MacArthur acquired ownership of Pewter Report in June 2006. We have done this through advertising sales in our magazine and on-line. You may have seen new new Ads by Google on the PewterReport.com. I ask that you click each ad you see daily or every time you come to the message boards. By doing so, that helps us recover the costs associated with our reporting and operating and maintaining the PewterReport.com site and message board. It also helps keep the regular costs of our subscriptions down too, and allows us to periodically lower the price for new subscribers, so you’re actually doing yourself a favor by clicking those Google ads. As always, we appreciate your support here at PewterReport.com and I thank you for your clicks.
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